Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Double Oh Seven

Welcome to 007. Do ya reckon they will figure out how to migrate me to "new" blogger this year?

Now to get on with it.

How to Save the World, part 1

Don’t do anything. Nothing. Not a thing. And I don’t mean that it is hopeless. Just that you can’t save the world by anything that you do. Only by what you don’t do.

You can’t save the world by driving a car (much less a hybrid car). You can’t save the world by using a more efficient dishwasher. Or buying Big Organic. Not by anything that you buy, even locally. Not by recycling either. Not by composting even.

If you want to accomplish something positive, all you have to do is stop doing something.

And mostly that boils down to not consuming.

It’s pretty easy really: Every time you start to do something, don’t. Every trip a body can NOT take to town is a step toward saving the world. A leg not shaved, there ya go. From the big to the little. Every dollar NOT spent is a dollar that you do NOT need to earn (or exploit or extort from someone else, depending on how you get your cash) and thus another step out of the stream of world exploitation and environmental degradation and war and death.

So here’s the Contrary Goddess’s “How to Save the World, step one, Challenge” -- see if you can go a week, one week, without buying anything. And no, it doesn’t count to just buy double the week before.

And here is the Contrary Goddess’s hint on how to make it really worthwhile instead of a stupid and empty exercise: Always take a step out of the process and reclaim it for yourself -- whether you are eating (bake your own bread, grind your own grain, grow your own grain) or entertaining yourself (pick up an instrument or sing or paint or write) or whatever. Don’t just “not buy” but actually consume less. Feel a little gnawing consumption pain deep in your gut.

How to Save the World, part 2

Feel a little gnawing consumption pain deep in your gut. Embrace it. Become friends. Then reach for . . . even less.

Because if you are looking for hope, it is in the joy of without. Many will die, but they were going to die anyway. They will be replaced by fewer who will live with less and if the fewer hate living with less, what sort of future is that? Quit rationalizing why it is impossible to do without. Just do without, and practice joy. And hope it is catching. Develop skills and pass them on. Value what is really valuable, not what is fashionable, or what is easy, or what feels good.

How to Save the World, part 3

If you manage to do little enough, you might actually have to start doing something. Real. Like growing food. Really, I don’t care where you are or what you are doing, grow (and gather wild) some significant portion of food and eat it. You can do it. If you aren't doing it, you just don't think eating is important enough.

How to Save the World, part 4

The only chance you have to save the world is to save your self by which you save, maybe, your children by what you didn’t teach them.


Joe Tornatore said...

i want migration to new blogger too.

laura said...

okay, joe...is that really all you have to say about this post???

i think this is very deep and thought provoking stuff.

i want to read the book...LOL...so when are you gonna write it???

can i please still go buy groceries tonight??? we emptied the place out before going on our trip and there is not much to pick from. but really, we could probably make it just fine until tomorrow maybe. we ate pretty well today though, we had the last of the fruit we brought on the trip for breakfast, then we had REAL eggs (yours) for lunch, and for supper i thawed the tofu i stuck in the freezer before we left and made baked tofu, i fried up the last onion and bulb of garlic, had the last of one bag of carrots and a few slices of your cheese. that was it for today. we don't eat much.

our larder now: we have 4 of your eggs left, only used a little of the cheese you made so we still have that, we have plenty of dried fruit and nuts, there's some rice, i think there's some oatmeal but not sure, 1 small bag of baby carrots, saurkraut, mayonaise...yeah, i think we can wait until tomorrow or the next day to go to the store...but i will be craving my salad until then...feeling that little deep gnaw...that honestly feels so good when you get to actually feeling it. an empty sort of real hunger feeling you get when you eat less.

oh, i just realized i had forgotten i was on blogger leaving a comment and wasn't in my email writing a letter to you. oops....long comment huh?

but i could talk about this consume less thing for hours if you let me....and not just food.

CG said...

me and you and food lalala! Go to the grocery already! When it is like that around here, it is usually about me needing (kneading?) to make bread again. But you know, I'm not surprised that you get the pleasure of that gnaw. There are so many pleasures in life!

CG said...

Although la, you are going to have to make that tofu to take a step out of it!

laura said...

yeah right...like that's gonna happen..sha-a

if i can't even get my saurkraut to turn out...do you think i'm up to doing my own tofu???

we're going to the store as soon as our mail is delivered though. it was supposed to come yesterday but it didn't. this happened last time we went away for a week. they delivered it AFTER the day i put down for them to. i think they are confused!!! samuel is coming out of his skin, because getting mail is like some sort of fun thing for him. it's going to be for me too since there are supposed to be so many packages in it that we didn't get before we left.

anyway. i was thinking about this some more. thinking how we usually do go a whole week without buying anything. i think that's one of the good things about not having a car...you simply CAN'T do whatever pops into your head to go and do that you really just don't need to go and do. we usually go to the store after payday, fill up the tank, get whatever essentials from wal-mart and then that's it for another week (sometimes longer).

i do go on...

CG said...

I thought your kraut turned out and you just didn't know why.

Get some soybeans. Make some tofu. You will be by tofu the way you are by the eggs -- the store stuff just isn't really very good.

El said...

Huzzah, CG! You've said a mouthful (as usual) and you make a lot of sense. I look forward to reading more of your "travels" in the upcoming year, so please have a great year. You've much to teach more than your kids by your example.

CG said...

howdy el! Well, that post may be a bit radical for me, but really, I look around at what people say will make a difference and the ONLY thing that I see that will is less of everything. Best new year to you and all of you who might or might not be out there! and blogLOVE!

arcolaura said...

Yep, that's about it. A few years ago I was asked to do an Earth Day presentation for a Grade 3 class. So I had them cut open and spread flat some single-serving juice boxes, and then a bigger juice box that held the same total amount of juice. Then I suggested you could buy the bigger box and pour some in a bottle to bring to school each day. Or just bring an orange and skip the box recycling and the bottle washing.

We talked a bit about recycling and electric cars and such. Some thought that electricity came from plugs in the wall. After they started to see the limits to what you can do for the environment, I asked if anybody might want to do less for the environment. Most said no, but one caught on, and when he explained it, the others really seemed to be thinking.

Eben Flood said...

Hmm, do you really mean this...
Because if you are looking for hope, it is in the joy of without. Many will die, but they were going to die anyway. They will be replaced by fewer who will live with less and if the fewer hate living with less, what sort of future is that?

Do you realize that taking your advice would result in a great many deaths? But I guess that doesn't bother you much, since they are going to die anyways and there's just too damn many of us.

dragonfly183 said...

You know they just put a new subdivision near my home with houses that cost to much to build and will last as long as the marriages of the people buying them. They will pour chemicals on there lawns that will end up in my water because there uphill from me. They complain about how long it takes them to get onto highway64 in there SUV's each morning and want to widen that part of the road now. There was never a problem with the size of that road before they moved in. There yards will be full of grass and not vegetable gardens. They will drive big gas guzzling cars the 13 mile drive into town because they want to live in the country.

I have no problem at all with these people dieing. I really really don't.

CG said...

I'm impressed Eben that you created a blogger identity and page just to comment on this. I suppose you really are as angry as you sound.

But I don't think you are understanding what I'm saying. If people did follow my "advice" (what there is of it) and consume radically less, provide for themSELVES by their own hands their food, clothing, shelter, then I think a lot more people COULD live.

But the Habar process has allowed a lot more people to be produced that can actually be supported by the earth. I'm sorry. Really I am. I am not gleeful. But I think it is going to happen that they will die. And maybe I will too.

But I am working on living through the collapse of the oil age. Are you? That's really what this is about. It is about if you want to help the earth, be kind to other people around the globe and here at home, it is about being healthy now, it is about everything, and how it IS all possible, now, by the choices we make. But sadly most people are like you and too angry, and too entitled, to make radically different choices.

Tick said...

I have food in my freezer, but I still need to go to the store to shop. A week without Wal-Mart, don't think I can do that. We did go to the movies today and the grandkids did get buy with just a drink. Usually they have to have drinks, candy and popcorn. The popcorn always smells so good, but smells better than it taste.
I have frozen veggies in the freezer and I think there are two apples in the frig. Don't think I can do it.

Jim said...

This is truth spoken honestly and we can't save the world because the world is not ours to save.

We can only live here by abiding the laws of nature, which won't allow any species to overpopulate, exploit, and/or appropriate. the entire planet for themselves.

Yes, there are too many of us, far too many, and most don't have a clue as to what it means to live sustainable lives.

If the human species survives the next few hundred years it won't be technology that saved us, it will be adaptability, instinct, and primal resourcefulness.

Dan Trabue said...

Eben said:
"Do you realize that taking your advice would result in a great many deaths?"

Do you really think living with less will lead to more deaths than living with (too) much? People ARE dying anyway. I've been to Nicaragua as have many of my friends. Other friends have been to Haiti (the two countries most plagued by true poverty in our region). People are dying there today at least partially because of our economic policies.

I'd suggest that Ms Goddess is looking at what's most personally and globally responsible. Actions that will ultimately save lives.

Eben Flood said...

It's funny that you should intimate that I'm angry. It seems to me you and your friends are very much more angry than I am, about how the world is or how it should be. But if it helps you to sleep at night believing that I'm an angry person, go for it!

You know, the world advanced out of the agrarian society for a reason: more of us could live. This world is more safe, in general, than in the past and the proof of this is simple, there's more of us now than then. Advances in medicine, hygiene and farming techniques save many more lives than would abandoning cars or consuming less.

You may enjoy your lifestyle, but I've done it and hate it. So now you would like to force me to conform to it. How pleasant for you that you want everyone in the world to live just like you no matter one's distaste for it. Conform or die, yes?

There wont be a collapse of the oil age. Funny how doomsday scenarios are so attractive to the fringe of societies. There's always something that's going to kill us all right around the corner. When oil becomes too expensive to use then other technologies will rise to take it's place, humanity has always done it this way. Hehe, you think when oil runs out we'll all just throw up our hands and cry 'WE'RE DOOMED, DOOMED I TELL YOU!!!" We do agree on one thing, though, buying oil from foreigners is silly when we have plenty of our own.

Anyways, I got a new surround sound system for Christmas so I'm going to go listen to the Dark Side of the Moon in it's original quadrophonic mix by Alan Parsons, they tell me it sounds fantastic. Who are 'they'? Those evil consumers that I work with.

Dan Trabue said...

"There wont be a collapse of the oil age."

No? How much longer will oil last, then? Will we find a way of creating oil from nothing or is there an infinite supply of oil somewhere that our scientists are unaware of? Exactly how will we continue infinitely fueled by a finite resource?

Eben Flood said...

Collapse indicates a sudden fall, which there wont be. Oil will become scarcer and thusly more expensive, over time, and as it does newer, cheaper technologies will be used to replace it.

It may run out, but by that time it will have become irrelevant. Sorta like carts and buggies, oh, and row boats, and steamships. We're still in mourning over that one, the collapse of the 'steam' age.

CG said...

Eben, two things -- I'm not trying nor do I advocate "forcing" anyone to do anything. Such force is a huge reason that I can't stand Liberalism. Or Conservatism for that matter. They just each try to force people to do different things. And I'm also not crying "doom" -- I see that many people will die. In general, I think that is good, if painful. You are free to have your own visions.

Whatever happens, I'm sure it won't be whatever anyone envisions exactly. I'm also sure it is happening right now and people do not recognize it. Without food, which right now depends on oil and NG, people get pretty desperate. I think that will look like a collapse. We're already allowing people to die off in Africa so we can make ethanol and use corn stoves.

I happen to find my lifestyle not only sustainable but fulfilling. And you still sound angry.

Anonymous said...

Eb:"Oil will become scarcer and thusly more expensive, over time, and as it does newer, cheaper technologies will be used to replace it."

This view is known now of days as Cornucopainism, the belief that out there somewhere in the imagination of humankind lurks a breakthrough that will make the end of the Oil Age just a stepping off of one stone in the stream to another.

It is, alas, baseless. ALL technology since the beginning of the industrial age is based and depends entirely on a finite and scarce source of fossil or mineral (in the case of uranium) fuel. No exceptions. Many cornucopians point to nuclear fusion, but as yet we haven't managed that, it's still just another dream.

And something you might not understand is that the present modern culture and population is based not just on oil but on cheap oil. To collapse modern society and the modern economy doesn't require oil to be suddenly depleted (as you correctly point out, isn't going to happen) but only that it become expensive.

In all other "collapses" of the past, Ur, Babylon, Rome, Mayan, and dozens of others, when the culture collapsed, people were able to go on because they had skills and knowledge of how to do for themselves. Today is different, without the oil umbilical, people will be in dire straights in a very hurry.

Yes, humankind during the past 250 years has skipped from one technological stone to the other crossing a torrential stream. We have skipped from solid bank of sustainable agriculture/gathering to the stone of a charcoal based industry (until we cut down all the suitable trees), to a coal based industry, to an oil based industry, and now our speed is unchecked and our foot hovers above the next stone in the sequence ..... what?

Time is running out and so far it's only a dream stone.

West Coast Awakening said...

I read your comments at A Payne Hollow Visit and thought your name was interesting, so here I am. I'm a reformed heathen who loves Toby Keith.

One question before I leave - do you bake your bread in a stone oven outside the back door?

Dan Trabue said...

"and as it does newer, cheaper technologies will be used to replace it."

Eleutheros said most of what I was going to say, but let me give you the benefit of the doubt: WHICH newer, cheaper technologies will replace fossil fuels? Do they exist today in a functional manner that can replace the near-total dependence we have on fossil fuels or are we just betting that these new technologies will come along in sufficient numbers and quantities to fill the need?

What some of us are thinking is that we can feed the earth's nearly 7 billion people because and only because of petro-solutions. Cheap petro-solutions. In the next generation (as that number creeps towards 10 billion?), the petro-solutions will become increasingly expensive. We think it a bit immoral to plan on feeding our 7-10 billion people based upon solutions that don't exist.

It's a bit like the welfare family planning on getting larger based upon the assumption that someone else will pay for it somehow. Or based upon the "plan" of winning a lottery. It doesn't seem wise or moral to plan thusly, at least to some of us.

Dan Trabue said...

Just a minor correction: "They" are only predicting a population of 8.5 billion in the next generation - not the 10 billion I was ballparking. 8.5 billion up from the 6.5 billion currently, according to the census bureau. But, current trends continuing, a greater majority of those 8.5 billion will be wanting - "needing" the sort of fossil fuels that we use - to drive like we drive, to consume like we consume.

A billion people here, a billion people there, all trying to drive and buy the way we do and it adds up...

CG said...

This blog is not supposed to accept anon comments. What the heck? And old Eben Flood wasn't, originally, anon. If anyone wonders who that is (or was), his real blog is www.terminusest.info/ .

As to second anon, about bread baking, I do not bake bread in a stone oven outside the back door. But it is in the plans! Big wide grin. I specialized in sourdough bread that would be perfect in such an oven but have reverted to yeast in the last couple of years. I do use ONLY whole grains, and freshly ground. I make a whole wheat pie crust to die for. And whole wheat biscuits (because a life without biscuits and gravy and salt ham is not a whole life). Welcome here.

CG said...

oops, the "anon" must have been a temp hiccup in blogger.

bohemiantroubadour said...

I want people to think I care like those people in the BP (British Petroleum) ads.

I do all my shopping at Walmart. They have everything any American needs to survive for a lifetime at very reasonable prices.

Global Warming is a new socialist movement.